One study found that of 659,486 older patients who underwent surgery, 10.2 percent ended up with an infection. Surgical site infections were the most common type of infection. Your mom is about to undergo a surgical procedure. What can you do to ensure her incision doesn’t become infected?
Follow Post-Surgery Guidelines
Different surgeries will have targeted instructions. For outpatient surgery, your mom will go home the same day. Other surgeries may require her to stay in the hospital for a few days so that a nurse can check for infection.
The incision is cleaned and covered with a pressure bandage if she’s sent home the same day. She’ll have instructions to avoid showering or bathing for at least a day. She doesn’t want to get that pressure bandage wet.
After a few days, she may be allowed to remove the pressure bandage, but she needs to check the incision for excessive oozing or active bleeding. If she is still bleeding, that may not be okay. Call her surgeon’s office for advice.
When you clean the wound, you must be careful of the sutures, staples, or surgical glue. Pat it dry after washing the area with soap and water. Cover it back up with a non-stick bandage that protects the incision and keeps stitches or staples from catching on bedding or clothing.
As the wound heals, it shouldn’t be hot to the touch or red. Pain will start to minimize after a few days, but the pain may last a week or two, depending on the incision site. Ask her surgeon what she should expect for pain. Ideally, she doesn’t want to take pain medications for longer than necessary. Ice packs may help keep the pain to a minimum and reduce her need for pain medications.
Bring your mom back to her surgeon when enough days have passed to remove the stitches. In some cases, her surgeon may allow you to remove the stitches at home. If that’s possible, you’ll be given a suture removal kit to use. The surgeon may advise you to put vitamin E or petroleum jelly over the closed incision to reduce scarring when stitches are removed.
You may not feel that you’re capable of doing all of this. That’s okay. Not everyone can help a parent with wound care after surgery.
Hire a Home Health Care Nurse
Unless you are in the medical field, it’s unlikely that you’ll know the ins and outs of wound care after a surgery. Your choices are to learn as much as possible or hire a home health care nurse to handle wound care for a few weeks. Even if you think you could learn, you have to put your mom’s safety first.
Nurses are trained to clean incisions, bandage them, and recognize the signs of infection. Talk to your mom’s surgeon about post-surgical instructions and see if it’s something you’re sure you’re ready to handle. It’s okay if it is beyond your abilities. A home health care nurse is happy to help out and ensure your mom’s recovery goes well.
If you or an aging loved-one is considering Home Health Care in Fair Oaks, CA please contact the caring staff at Aging Assistant today. (916) 897-4752